College netball championship tournament at the ASB Sports Centre
It's late afternoon and the courts are busy - games of basketball, volleyball and other less-familiar sports are in full swing.
The $47.5 million ASB Sports Centre opened in August 2011. With 12 full-size sprung courts and retractable seating for 2200, the centre is living up to its billing of providing a high-quality facility for indoor sports activities in Wellington.
Importantly, it's delivering on 'getting more people, more active, more often'.
One year on, Centre Manager Craig Hutchings says it feels like people own the place.
"We started from scratch, and now we've got a huge number of programmes in place and they're expanding," he says.
"The really rewarding part is that the ASB has found its place as a community sports facility.
Mostly it caters for informal or semi-organised sports for all ages and abilities, rather than highly competitive, high-performing elite sports."
Home to a number of city and regional indoor sports organisations, the centre was built partly in response to demand for indoor court facilities. Weekly social leagues run in futsal, korfball, floorball, ultimate disc / frisbee and turbo touch as well as netball, basketball and volleyball.
Despite not being open to the public during the Rugby World Cup, 294,000 people have used the ASB Sports Centre up to the end of July.
"We provide the venue and the flexibility for these amateur sports to promote themselves and grow," says Craig.
The popularity of futsal in Wellington has really taken off since it started at the ASB Sports Centre, with more than 100 teams competing in the summer league. Last month, the centre hosted the national junior and youth futsal championships. Most of the focus, though, is in building community involvement.
The Council's Portfolio Leader for Sports and Events, Councillor John Morrison, says the centre has a strong educational role, particularly with schools.
"Children of all ages come and learn basic motor and coordination skills - how to run, jump, catch and throw. We're setting up a sporting habit that lasts for life," says Cr Morrison.
More than 40 schools use the facility, with around 15,000 children participating in a range of sports.
From 'tumbling tots' and 'fun football', children can move through into specialist sports coaching and junior leagues. Our school holiday programmes are immensely popular, catering for up to 80 children in netball coaching, 50 in basketball and 60 in multisport. Children's birthday parties are also in demand.
Cr Morrison says that through sport, the centre is a point of connection with the city and local communities. "We're also making links between home, work and social life - a place where you can come with three or four mates for a game and then head off elsewhere," he says.
Craig Hutchings points to Saturday youth nights - for youth groups in the eastern suburbs - as another success story. For $2, young people get 2 hours of supervised sports, dance classes and board games.
"It started with 20 kids last term, we've now got 60," says Craig.
Casual Sunday night sports - strictly non-competitive - now attract up to 80 people and another day will be added next term, as will a business community league.
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